tv Sanjay Gupta MD CNN December 17, 2011 4:30am-5:00am PST
she was diagnosed with leukemia more than a year ago. she is 73 years old. >> just love that song, love that voice. i'll be back with you at the top of the hour with more live news as we continue with "cnn saturday morning." right now time for the good doctor. >> hey there, thanks for joining me this morning. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. a man who helped design president obama's health care law and mitt romney's plan in massachusetts is getting angry. a woman who thought she faced a choice between beating cancer and having kids. plus dr. andrew wile on how to beat the holiday blues. first an update on a little boy named youssif. he's become a friend of mine. it began with unimaginable
cruelty i've ever heard about. it struck a chord with me as a father, viewer, and millions around the world. men covered him with kerosene and set this little boy on fire. it's hard to imagine anyone can do that to a child. his story isn't so much about cruelty but strength and healing and courage. >> reporter: now nine, it's hard to believe this the same youssif we met in baghdad. no trace of the solemn and angry boy he once was. no trace of the boy who could only speak a few words of english. >> i'm still making it. i'm doing like soccer games and practice. i never used to do that in my country. >> why didn't you do it in your country? >> because it was kind of dangerous there.
>> do you remember that day when those guys attacked you? >> no. >> reporter: he used to. this was youssif, just five years old at the time. he was attacked by masked men right in front of his home in early january 2007. his family begged for help. desperate to see their boy smile again. a plea heard around the world. cnn viewers donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the children's burn foundation that took on his case. but life in the u.s. has not been easy for this iraqi family, soon to become american citizens. along with a younger sister, youssif now has a younger brother. >> reporter: where do you guys sleep? >> we sleep over there. >> reporter: will you show me? >> yeah. we sleep right here.
>> reporter: you sleep right here on the ground. >> yeah. >> reporter: you sleep here? >> yeah. >> reporter: the family has had a pretty tough time despite the fact that they are very grateful to everyone for everything that has transpired since they came to america since being in iraq. it hasn't been entire easy for them. there's financial difficulties as well. youssif is showing us the kids are sleeping on the floor. there's two level of carpeting here, that's all they have, then flimsy blanket. >> covered by department of human services as they would be for others in california. the family has to make ends meet on the father's security guard salary of $9 an hour plus welfare and food stamps. the family is desperately home sick, despite all of youssif's friends.
>> reporter: do you want to go back to iraq? >> kind of. >> reporter: why? >> it's kind of my country. i miss everyone i knew there. >> reporter: with u.s. troops leaving they do worry that iraq may never be safe enough for them to go back home. >> as you can see there, youssif is doing well. when i last saw him, he was just as happy. he was cracking jokes, proud to show off his english, which has gotten better there. his doctors say he'll need more operations over the next several years. as with many immigrant families they face challenges. all the items you saw in the home were donated by you all over the family. if you want to donate directly you can contact them districtly on twitter at youssif. hard to believe we're at the
2012 election. one place the republican candidates seemingly agree, they want to get rid of president obama's health care law. my next guest has a unique perspective. he not only helped design the law, he also designed mitt romney's health care plan in massachusetts. the obama administration hired him as a technical adviser to congress who debated the law. now he has a book out, a comic book out, to try to explain the law to everyone else. called "health care reform, what it is, why it's necessary, how it works." he joins me from boston. welcome to the show, jonathan. you don't think about comic books and economists often in the same sentence. want to talk about that in a second. look, i've been following your comments, commentary for some time now. you do have a unique perspective. when you describe this, what do you describe as the differences between the obama plan and the
plan in massachusetts? >> basically, sanjay, at their core they are really the same plan. the basic goal of the massachusetts plan was to build on what worked with our health insurance system and fill in the cracks, cover the uninsured, fix the broken market for insurance purchase. the federal law is the same, saying look, a broken insurance market where insurers don't help the sick, we're going to make it affordable by subsidizing the purchase. it's the same basic plan we did in massachusetts. >> does the federal bill, even being more ambitious, does it reduce costs enough to accomplish things you're saying? >> well, basically you have to understand reducing health care cost is a difficult issue. we don't really know the right answer to do that, to be honest. what the bill does is what i call a spaghetti approach to cost control, throws a bunch
against the wall and see what sticks. we take four or five ideas on cost control, try them all, and learn what will work ultimately to control health care in america. >> this is coming up a lot, as you know better than anyone, jonathan, as you listen to governor romney when he talks about what happens in massachusetts. he says these are different. he's come out on the record saying what happened in massachusetts, what's happening at the national level are very different. you have said he is either lying or at least misleading people. which part specifically? was there something you specifically took issue with what the governor said? >> yes, i do. basically i take issue with two things he says. first of all he says, well, i didn't have to raise taxes and obama did. he didn't have to raise tacks because the federal government paid his bill. it's unfair for him to say, gee, i didn't have to pay taxes and ignore the fact he got a huge subsidy from the federal government to make it possible. clearly that's not possible at the federal level. the second thing i take issue
with, it was right for massachusetts but not for the nation. he never said why. he's wrong. this will work. >> wasn't there the equivalent of a mandate? this is a term people get it know more and more, have to buy insurance if they can afford it. was there a mandate in massachusetts? seems to be something governor romney is dead set against. >> no. there was a mandate -- yes, there was a machine date in massachusetts where the first state in the nation to have a health insurance mandate and it's been effective. we've covered two-thirds of citizens, two-thirds of uninsured citizens have health insurance and the law remains popular with two-thirds public support despite the mandate. >> you would say what happens in massachusetts was successful in terms of getting people who didn't have insurance, getting them insurance. is that correct? did it accomplish its goals? >> i think the bill had two goals, uninsured insured and did accomplish that goal. it was to fix a broken individual insurance market.
i can't emphasize enough sanjay, most of your listeners and viewers will have insurance through their employers and won't understand if you don't have employer provided insurance today you're in big trouble. you're in a market where insurers can discriminate on you based on your health, charge outrageous prices. the goal is not to help the insured but fix that market for those that aren't offered insurance by their employer. >> another question about this mandate quickly, this is the big issue i think in 2012, the supreme court will weigh in on this as well. newt gingrich in my reading also supported an individual mandate in the past. is that your understanding? >> it's not just newt gingrich. this is a republican idea. i mean, when mitt romney signed this bill in 2006 there was a speaker from the heritage foundation, a right wing think tank on the platform saying what a wonderful bill it was. only once president obama adopted the idea, because it was a good one suddenly it became a
bad idea from the perspective of conservatives. >> in 2012 a lot of people asking questions, hopefully come back and visit us to answer them as well. up next this morning right here, long-term planning pays off for one cancer survivor. we'll show you how. [ male announcer ] does your prescription medication give you the burden of constipation?
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we're heading into our third year now cnn fit nation challenge. let me tell you something, it hasn't just transformed my life, it's also changed the lives of a lot of viewers like you. 2011 six-pack winner is now competing in a half marathon in february. this man training for a half marathon in spring. remember this man? taking the challenge in green bay, wisconsin, starting a fit nation challenge all on his own with the employees of a health care system where he works. exactly what we were hoping to see. this monday the last day to get your submissions in to join me for 2012. pretty easy to do, logon to
cnn.com/sanjay. submit a video telling us why you should be part of next year's sick pack. this next woman sarah warner, when she was just 26 years old she found herself battling cancer. even in the darkest times she dreamed about becoming a mom. against all odds, she was determined not to let anything stand in her way. >> he looks like his mama. >> being a mom was always sarah warner's dream. she never imagined it would take the help of a total stranger, denise bennett, to deliver that dream. at 26 sarah got devastating news. she had advanced cervical cancer and need add hysterectomy. >> i went into menopause within a matter of week after the diagnoses. emotionally it was a pretty tough pill to swallow. >> before she would undergo cancer treatment, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, she
fought to keep her dream alive and she found a doctor willing to try to help. >> i made it very clear i wanted to be a mother no matter what it took. the doctor is like we're going to harvest eggs, make embryos but we had to move quickly. >> ten years later, despite being divorced sarah was ready to be a mom. while she's cancer-free now she cannot carry a child. then she found denise who agreed to be her surrogate. >> to sit back and see that first ultrasound was more than just -- it was more than just realizing a dream of becoming a mother. i could finally relax. it wasn't going to be a fight anymore. >> denise carried and delivered a healthy baby boy. as sarah prepares to take little chase home from the hospital with her boyfriend matt firmly by her side, she's overcome by the joy of having her dream finally come true. >> when i first had my hysterectomy and they told me i
could get a surrogate and have a baby, that was to me like going to the moon. i didn't know anybody else who had done that. that sounded so crazy to me. so sit here and have this little baby produced, it took effort on so many people's behalf. it can happen. >> i'll tell you, for female cancer patients who want the option of having children, the best option is freezing an embryo like sarah did. harvesting and freezing eggs, that's another option. for men, there's sperm banking. all these options are costly. some insurance plans will help and there's programs as well that will help defer that cost. still ahead sdg&e just -- advice on depression. stay with us. progresso. it fits! fantastic! [ man ] pro-gresso they fit! okay-y... okay??? i've been eating progresso and now my favorite old jeans...fit.
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hiv/aids. even now in any given year one in ten americans suffers from a mood disorder. it makes you wonder exactly what's happening here and who can help us understand this better than dr. andrew weil, the focus of spontaneous happiness. what prompted you to write this book at this time. >> itime. >> the most frequent question coming into my website was about depression and then i looked into the statistics. one in ten americans is on a prescribed anti-depressant drug. the number of children taking psychiatric medications is enormous. why are we experiencing the depression today? some of it is manufactured by the medical pharmaceutical complex which has been successful at convincing ordinary states of sadness and imbalances of brain chemistry that need to be treated. maybe 20%, 25%, more. it still leaves us with a lot of depression to explain. what's different today? one clue that i found in writing
this book that depression is virtually unknown in hunter/gatherer societies. everything's different there. depression correlates with affluence. the more people have the less satisfied they seem to be. i think big factors are increasing social isolation in the past century and many things about modern life foster that. our diets are different. we're disconnected from nature. i also think information overload is a big factor and media and how they're affecting our brains. >> do you, besides the fish oil and meditation, do you do things different? hunter/gatherer society, you are someone who has means and resources and more affluent than the average person. what do you do if you fall into that category? i make sure i'm physically active every day. i spend time in nature. i sleep, i tend to associate with positive people and
happiness is contagious as is depression. if you have a happy friend that lives within a half our of you you're more likely to be happy. >> that's great. >> how far do you live? too far. i'll have to find somebody else. >> and i also learn -- i got happier when writing the book. one of the things that surprise mead was the amount of scientific data we have for how powerful an intervention is feeling and expressing gratitude. there's positive from positive psychology there's a simple exercise which is to keep a gratitude journal. so during the day you make mental notes of things to be grateful for and before you go to bed at night you write it in a notebook. doing it for one week can produce an elevation of mood for six months. >> it's a lot easier than the other therapies we hear about. it sounds humble when i say this, but being charitable, i know for myself -- it sounds
false and humble, but i feel good about being charitable, almost to the point that it feels selfish. >> that's called the helper's high and whether it's being truly altruistic or being generous. this is fine and it is perfectly okay to feel good about doing good for others. >> what about children? because the society that you describe that might be the most problematic is the society that's becoming more common for our kids. >> absolutely. i worry about the effects of the new media information overload on kids. we have some data that the kids who spend the most time on the internet are most prone to depression and this is because of the social isolation that that promotes. >> there are medications out there that make people feel a little more cheery, put a little more spring in their step. >> yeah. >> they have side effects, but they deal with the side effect profiles and they're generally
safe. is that a problem? as long as they don't create the need for more of them as happens with our drugs. there are also natural remedies out there that people might want to try before they take prescribed medication. >> such as? >> things like st. john's wort and sami. >> i thought the st. john's wort wasn't convincing. >> for mild and moderate depression it's pretty good. not for depression. good evidence and also works for aches and pains and osteoarthritis so if depression is accompanied by bodily aches and it's worth trying. there's an indian herb that i use called ashwaganda, but it's a relaxant and calming. so for someone that has depression with anxiety that might be a good thing to try. these are all things to try. they can't hurt you and you
might give them a try before you resort to a prescribed drug. >> we'll have a whole lot of history to work back on to see what worked and didn't work. >> yeah. >> it's always fascinating to speak with you, and i'm glad you're well. >> thanks. >> congratulations on the book. take care of yourself. don't tour too much. ♪ ♪ ♪ salt adds flavor to just about everything and sodium in salt is an essential nutrient, but too much or too little can cause major health problems. the usda says people should limit sodium intake to less than 2300 milligrams a day and says most adults should keep it to 1500. they found levels too low could raise your cholesterol. the best bet, read the labels, talk to your doctor. that's food for life. welcome to idaho, where they grow america's favorite potatoes.
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i'll introduce you now to scott sniby, he creates new worlds and rather than moving us forward sometimes his new worlds take us back to our childhood. ♪ ♪ >> so an app album is a brand new thing. the idea is to create a complete, fully immersive interactive experience that involves visuals, music and interactivity. you used to take an album home and you'd have to play it on a record player. i think there's something like almost spiritual the way we would bond with an album. so the app has the potential to bring it back and the way it does it is by combining all of your senses at once. >> scott's ultimate dream is to create a feature-length interactive movie, a full participatory experience where your move